7 Shipwrecks with ”Chinese” characteristics found in the wake of the Chinese Fleet

Shipwrecks with ”Chinese” characteristics found in the wake of the Chinese Fleet

Please see the bottom of this page for most recent findings.

Summary of Shipwrecks (July 2003) – see table below for details

Far East

– Pandanan
- Santa Cruz

Singapore Straits – Bakau

- Phu Quoc

Malaysia – Longquan
- Royal Nanhai
- Xuande
- Nanyang
- Turiang

Fiji – Nanuku Passage

Japan - Takashima

King Island Bass Strait
Tasmania, Storm Bay
King Sound
Blackwood River
Fraser Island x 2
Stradbroke Island
Indian head/Fraser Island
Wollongong x 2

New Zealand
Ruapuke Beach
Dusky Sound
Cedric Bell’s Survey of South Island:
Lyttleton; Governor’s Bay; Banks Peninsular; Flea Bay; Stony Bay; Otanerito Bay; Le Bon’s Beach; Otanerito Bay; Le Bon’s Beach; Okain’s Bay; Akaroa; The Catlins; Kaka Point; Cannibal Bay; Surat Bay; Papatowai Tahakopa Bay; Moeraki Beach; Katiki Beach


TOTAL OF (a) = 38 junks over 40m
(b) = 6 junks over 20m
(c) = 8 junks less than 20m, some possibly horse transports or mobile rafts
GRAND TOTAL = 44 junks over 20m

Bimini Shark Mounds
Great Dismal Swamp
Vancouver Island – Lovekin
Vancouver Island – Uclulet
Vancouver Island – Clatsop Beach
Oregon – near Neahkahnie Beach
Chile x 2
Drakes Bay
Sacramento A
Sacramento B (Grimes / Knights)
Sacramento C (Bay X)
Sacramento D (Feather River)
Mexico (Manzanillo)

Indian Ocean
St. Paul Island
South Pacific

Location TV Details Contacts
China, Nanjing dry dock No. 6 A+ The giant rudder (42 ft high) was found here, as was much very old teak – with which local people make furniture. Dock is huge -500m x 80m. Flooded 1431 until today Contacts: Mayor of Nanjing, Professor Yinsheng Liu or Admiral Zheng Ming.
Philippines, North Pandanan Island (S. tip, Palowan Island) A All contents brought from sea bed under direction of Dr Eusebio Dizon – an amazing haul of more than 4,700 pieces giving a graphic view of trade in the Pacific and Indian Ocean in 1421 – including Zhu Di’s coins.
Evidence of trade with Americas (Metates)
Dr Eusebio Dizon information. Junk from Zheng He’s fleet 30m x 8m. Second junk discovered off Pandanan 1995 with 3,000 pieces. The Pearl Road.
Philippines, Santa Cruz A Off Santa Cruz (N. Philippines). More than 11,500 pieces of 15thC Chinese porcelain of the finest quality and of incredible value have been recovered in perfect condition. Frank Goddio’s information. In 32m water – discovered 2001, wreck in v. good condition – 25m x 5.8m. Goods packed perfectly. For info: Iris Weissen: +49(40) 22658 323
Singapore Straits, Bakau B 23m, wrecked early 15thC, Chinese construction, hull of hard pine, Pinus Sylvesteris group, iron nails, chu-nam caulking, flat bottom, Zhu Di (1403-24) coins Bronze guns, bronze mirrors and handles, cast iron pots, grindstones, kendis, numerous copper artefacts, sounding weight – fascinating for comparison with Jacutacato shroud and Sacramento.
Longquan – Malaysia E. coast.
Built c. 1370
A Wrecked 1390-1420 in 63m. water. Cargo largely intact – possibly 100,000 pieces including Celadon. Tin sounding weights (compare with Fraser Island).
Royal Nanhai, Malaysian East Coast: Lat………Long …….
Built 1320-1460 (c. 1450)
South China Sea vessel. 21,000 pieces si-Satchanal and Celadon (compare Woolongong) 28 x 7 metres of tropical hardwood (hopea) bulkheads and hull planks edge joined with wood dowels. Some blue and white and iron ingots.
Xvande, Malaysia East coast Lat ……… Long ………..
Built c. 1500-1520
Off Pulau Tloman in 55m water, approx 28 x 8 metres. Xuande Emperor (1426-35) blue and white. Si-Satchanlai and Sukothai ceramics. Xuande pottery possibly commemorative counterfeits.
Nanayang, Malaysia East coast.Lat ……… Long….. 10 nautical miles from Pulau Tioman – Fresh water used extensively by Zheng He’s fleet. In 54 metres. Upright. Transverse planking. Wooden dowels. 1500 pieces Si-Satchanalai Celadon (compare Woolongong. No ceramics).
Turiang, Malaysia East coast. Lat ……… Long……….. Chinese junk sailing to Borneo. Cargo Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, ceramics, iron-ore, fish. Wood hull; temperate joined by iron nails
Fiji, Nanuku Passage
140 15’ S, 1780 10’ W
B Vivid description of Chinese landing and being murdered by Fijians (French missionaries’ accounts of c. 1550) after they had intermarried. Chinese tomb on Alofi 1875 Captain Wilson’s report Mariners’ Mirror 1924, reporting earlier French missionaries and Cornelius Schouten in Eindracht 1616.
Japan A Wrecks of Genghis Khan’s fleet which invaded Japan 1281. Amazing finds – watertight compartments, mortars, fragmentation bombs, etc. Archaeology, Feb 03. Edwin Davey information.
Warrnambool (S. Australia) Double planking. Brass bolt. Now lost because junk appears to have drifted. Deposited across sandbars – must have been by tsunami (Prof. Bryant). In 1836 clearly visible – cedar or mahogany. Aboriginals then considered it quamby (S Luiz). c. 1880 King Edward island 150 nautical miles away. Desliens world map depicts coast line – drawn 2 centuries before Captain Cook.
King Island, Bass Strait (S. Australia ) 390 49’ S, 1440 67’ E. A Double planking; brass pins (5/8 inch) Among sand dunes near sea, Elephant River C 1980 E O Jeago, information. Warrnambool 150 nautical miles away. Desliens world map depicts coast line – drawn 2 centuries before Captain Cook.
Tasmania, Storm Bay Disgorges Hong Wu coins after storms (evidence)
Australia, King Sound B Discovered by Allan Robinson on sea bed. Local legends say yellow people settled among them. Linguistic similarities of Aborigines with Japanese. DNA testing has been carried out of certain Aborigines but Australian govt. will not allow release of results.
S. Australia, Blackwood River B/MR Junk “1 km east of Blackwood River”. River enters sea at Augusta close to Cape Leeuwin. Unknown graves in Julien Bay. Aborigines pale colour. Aboriginal legends of visiting ship. Legend of Sam Chalwell: Jim Mullins information.
E. Australia, Fraser Island MR John Green (1862) saw a Chinese junk rise out of the sea following a great storm. Numerous local legends collected by J Green report foreign ship landing small boats to mine minerals. Photos 1919, 1972, 2002, B Green information from J Green account. B. Green found Chinese wine cooler + several jade artefacts. 1972 photos of canon. Gympie pyramid nearby.
E. Australia, Stradbroke Island swamp A+ Accessible on foot. 4 WD can get within 200 metres. Need helicopter for precise location. Should be easy to spot from small aircraft. Cost Aus $ 350 approx. Local report (via Greg Jeffreys): wreck in swamp called Golden Dragon – a Chinese junk. 3 other wrecks nearby to predate Cook.
E Australia, Indian Head, Fraser Island A Wreck near shore, approachable by Zodiac, not deeply buried, visible at low spring tides (Greg J.) Greg Jeffery and Bill Ward’s information. Bill Ward has found ancient lead weight (Oceania, Vol 34).
Woolongong – A
Woolongong – B
Woolongong – C
New Zealand
Ruapuke Beach
(1890 sighting)
AT Nearby Colenso Bell (Tamil) carved stone, carved jade duck (Chinese), Mauku figurine (Chinese), Komowin (stepped pyramid – ?Chinese). Local legends. Teak built, triple hull, willow pattern plate Vaughan Cullen information. The wreck is offshore, has shifted position and is lost. Latest finds by David Sims (rivet, teak wood).
New Zealand S. coast, Dusky Sound MR The wreck disappeared many years ago. It was classified as a Chinese junk by local people. Robyn Gossett information, New Zealand Mysteries.
America, E coast
Bimini – ‘shark mounds’
A Six mounds in swamp on E Bimini, second Bimini road found off Anguilla, Cay Sal, stone reservoir Andros.
Florida – Menendez reports junks.
Bill Swinley has most info. Second Bimini Road- ”Bruce’. Information on Andros Reservoir – C Huegy.
America E coast, Great Dismal Swamp A MR To west of Norfolk, VA. Sarah Jackson’s story of discovery of “an ancient Chinese sailing ship” uncovered when the swamp was first drained by George Washington and his friends.” Bartlett Doty & William Kleisch investigating (02/03).
See also Coronet Magazine, p. 34, January, 1945: “…When the government took over the Swamp and dredged some of the ditches, strange looking hulks of ships were found sunk in her marshes. One, a large Chinese craft, had to be cut through. Sunk in her quagmires are the skeletons of other ships that now belong to the ages – all bearing silent testimony that Old Dismal’s rule stretches far down the corridors of time…” – Paul McNamee
Larry D Clark information (01/03) from Merrill Reading Skill Text Series 1977, Bell & Howell ISBN 0-675-06757.
America W coast, Vancouver Island, Schooner Cove/ Lovekin Rock A Wreck is approx 130 x 30 x 27 ft –longer than Cook’s Endeavour or Vancouver’s Discovery. Many Chinese artefacts found nearby. (Lake River Potters, Chinese vases, etc). Wreck of teak (?), carrying rice (?). Hector Williams and Bob Hassell’s information. Exact location known. Magnetometer surveys show bronze fastenings.
America W coast, Vancouver Island ‘Asian Uclulet’. MR “Asian Pot Wreck” 15 nautical miles off mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait hauled up Asian pot. Numerous articles of Japanese/Korean/Chinese origin on Vancouver Island (see Synopsis of Evidence). In c. 1400 mysterious colony of potters settled in valley between Vancouver Lake and Columbus River (Robert Hassell’s information) and disappeared c. 1700.
America W coast, Vancouver Island (Clatsop Beach) MR Point Adams, mouth of Columbia River. Swan, J G, The Northwest Coast, 1857.
America W coast, Oregon, Near to Neakahnie Beach MR Ming porcelain found on Netarts sand spit. Pulley made of S E Asian hardwood dated c. 1410. Cabrillo’s map of California (c. 1543) shows wrecked Chinese junks. Cabrillo – Goetzman & Williams U of Oklahoma Pubs 1992, Atlas of N. American Exploration.
South American W coast,
Grotius p. 68, first Spanish to round Horn, found junks near Taroja (220 S) Ranking Supplement p. 35
American W coast, California, Drake’s Bay MR Considerable amount of Chinese porcelain found here. Drake reported to have “chased a junk”. Cabrillo’s map shows junk. GM has bibliography Drake
America, W coast, Sacramento A+ Separate file. Pearson, investigating. Core drilling April 03. Electro magnetic survey completed 02/03. Wood carbon dated c. 1410 (Beta Analytic Lab,
Miami, Florida). Chinese brass plate found buried Susanville.
Dr John Furry and Mr Dave Stewart’s information. Approx 30m x 8m (as Pandanan). Report by Prof. Conyers, Oct 2002.
For more information please visit: http://www.psmerg.org/chinalanding/
Bay X This disgorges Chinese blue and white after a storm. Close to 41
Maryville (Mary Doerflein)
Sacramento River delta
America/Mexico, W coast. Bahia de Zihuatanejo MR Wreck disgorges Chinese (Nanking) cloth after storms, hence name ‘Playa la Ropa’. Exact location unknown. Ming porcelain in local museum. Local legends – Joel Fressa, information.
America, W coast MR Grimes and Knights landing. Appears to be very old ship/junk full of seeds, accessible at low water. Kathleen Pickard nearest to site. Mary Doerflein, information. (Mary lives near Seattle, Washington.)
Americas, Caribbean MR Guadeloupe – wreck found by Columbus.
Americas, Mississippi, Caribbean MR Coronado’s junks with gilded sterns:
“ Three shippes on the sea coast which bore Alcatarzes or pelicans of gold and silver in their prows”.
See Hakluyt’s voyages under “Vasquez de Coronado”.
Caribbean MR Columbus secret diaries. The Origin of Dragon and Phoenix Culture. 1988 – Wang da Yiu, song Bao Zhong, Chinese miners in “Bird boats”. Martin Tai’s information. Historian Fang Zhong Pu.

Wrecks on New Zealand – Wrecks identified by magnetic anomaly survey. Permission is being requested from the relevant authorities to carry out corroborative testing using different types of equipment – sonic and other methods (satellite; magnetometer; ground penetrating radar; reverse infrared satellite imagery).

Vanguard & Resolution Class 7 x 1,000 men each =7000
Rorqual Class 21 x 180 men? =3,780
Alcide Class 3 x 60 men? =780
X Craft & Seraph Class 8 x 12 men? =96
TOTAL 10,976

Note: Barracks for 29,000 men


Mahogany Ship, Warrnambool.
60-odd pieces of wood excavated 11 metres beneath a dune west of Warrnambool last October. The timber analyst’s final conclusion is only that it is of the species olea – a member of the olive family, which includes about 50 varieties in a wide range of countries. This does not eliminate olea europaea, the classic olive-bearing tree of the Mediterranean and Middle East, meaning that the samples unearthed still might have come from a Portuguese Mahogany Ship. By the same token it signifies that the wood could well have originated in East Africa or the Sino-Himalayan region (where relatives of europaea grow) and could just as likely been part of the supply vessel, that was sent eastwards along Australia’s southern coastline by Hong Bao.

New Zealand

Large pieces of wreckage have been uncovered by a severe storm on the West Coast of New Zealand. News items include “three pieces of shipwreck have now been found on West Coast beaches. Experts are no closer to establishing what sailing ship they are from” samples of pegged timber and bronze sheathing have been sent for analysis but comment is that ship “may be a lot, lot older than our recorded shipwrecks” – Hamish Brown

Part of very large ship washed up on west coast of New Zealand. Had been buried (no growth attached), very old, fastened with wooden pegs, bronze fittings, oak planks, estimated (by council) to be between 1300–1700. (Alan Glover, Tauranga,N.Z) Does anyone have any further information?


Hula people from Hula mid-way between Port Moresby and Samarai on the South Coast of Papua have Asiatic features. Local talk has it that a Chinese vessel was wrecked in that vicinity many, many years ago. (David & Maxine Mundell)


Willem de Vlamingh’s log (mission of Dec. 1696 – Jan 1967) mentions coming across what looked like the “lining of a ship – very old” 8-10 miles up the Swan River, W. Australia. Could this be part of a Chinese shipwreck of the 15th Century? (Jamie Bentley)

A reader recalls how the remains of a shipwreck were found on a Perth metropolitan beach after a wild winter storm brought by the Westerly winds. At the time the newspaper report claimed that they were very old certainly before the time of British settlement. As to the exact time and place he cannot accurately pinpoint these. The beaches north of Fremantle on which the wreck was found were either Leighton, Cottesloe or Swanbourne. The decade was either the 50′s, 60’s or 70’s. Can anyone help with our research into this wreck? (Henry Court)

Diver Alan Robinson – find of a possible 12th century Chinese junk off the coast of Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. He found articles including patterned ceramics and a “… magnificent cream coloured vase, covered in beautiful blue patterns. It stood 34” high, with a shape like an ancient Roman amphorae, except that the base was angled out to form a substantial stand. Below the flanged neck two handles projected in the form of coiled serpents. The whole object was beautifully glazed…” – Des Williams

Plank fastener of a wooden ship found on Lady Elliot Island, which is on the lower end of the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland. It measures 125mm by 16 mm and is either Brass or Bronze with a hammer-head. It has been mould poured and a fastener of this nature indicates a large wooden vessel (Trevior R. Boyd )

A reader describes a cannon found buried in sand in north Queensland, origin unknown, which was small, less than a metre long, and its bore was about 5 inches in diameter. Up until the 1950s the cannon was fired at 1 pm every day, but it has since been removed. It was not of English origin and was believed to be Portuguese, though some think it could have been Chinese. Does anyone know anything else about this find?

Does anyone have any further details about a supposed Chinese junk found buried in Stockton, a suburb of the east coast city of Newcastle, Australia? Apparently it was uncovered during construction work several years ago but was since covered up again during the middle of last century – Grant Morgan


Shipwreck found in South Africa under a playing field in Cape Town in the 1980’s. We are currently awaiting more information on this find – John Doble

March 2006 – Chinese to excavate 600 year old ship in Kenya – please see following link for full article: http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=37618


Large four feet long iron anchor with slightly curved 18in. spikes found in Central California found in the rocks of a cliff at Buena Vista Peaks, Amador County. It pre-dates the vessels used by Columbus. . It was unearthed by a dredger when Lake Commanche (Dam) was being built – it still lies there now underwater. The spot where the anchor was found is actually on an Indian reservation, just a stone’s throw from a holy site for the local Indian tribe – (Dick Yarrington)

Part of ship wreck discovered in the Gulf of Mexico during the 1960’s close to Aranspass. It was dated at 1400 AD. Can anybody tell us more? (Charlie Daniel)

A history student acquaintance of a reader has noted a very large unusual anchor off the coast of Newport RI, whilst diving. He will be sending us photographs shortly – Nicholas Santos

During the late 1960’s an ancient Chinese ship was found under a sunken Spanish ship, in Drake’s Bay, north of San Francisco. The Spanish ship, the San Augustin, had been wrecked in 1595. The Chinese ship under the San Augustin was discovered by a group of US Navy divers working on a project known as the “Tektite Project” – Thomas Conlon

We have been told that the President of the “Museum of the San Fernando Valley”, California has an artefact in the museum, which he believed might be part of a Chinese junk found along the California coast. We are awaiting photographs of the find.


Huge teak rudder found in protected waters on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, near Kailua town in about 1976. Early reports stated that the rudder was from a Chinese junk and very old. The Hawaiian islands are in the middle of the trade wind route from north America to Asia. (Hugh Dickson, Honolulu, Hawaii)

An archaeological dig 100 miles inland on a Thai river. Here they found a teak anchor with a shank of 20 feet and the flukes at eight feet. It was buried in mud and thus preserved to a high standard – this might have come from one of the larger junks – Mike Boss

A small Chinese junk in a corner of a wall painting at Pompeii – can anyone shed any light on this? – J Huber

A reader believes a Chinese vessel sunk about 20 nautical miles off Tofino and Ucluelet, which is off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ken Brown of Tofino called our source regarding a Chinese vase that Kevin Reide found. Mr. Brown was fishing the same seamount, which he says is sand, when he found a smaller Chinese vase about 11″ tall, all brown in colour. Is this a possible site for a wrecked junk? – Doug Hockley
A reader was told 25 years ago about a wreck of a Chinese junk just north of Sequim, Washington in the Strait of Juan DeFuca. Has anyone heard the same rumour? – Dr. Don H. AndersonBrunei
Reader notes that the King of Brunei sent diplomatic missions to China from 1405 to 1425 and trade links between the two countries had a very long standing. In 1998 a very big Chinese trade vessel was excavated and its 500 ton cargo was recovered, much of which was deposited in the national museum in Brunei. The goods came from approximately the same date as the 1421 expedition. (Richard Harbord)
When the Dutch arrived in Mauritius, they found remains of a shipwreck and an inscription which they thought to be Arabic. Modern day scholars do not think that it is Arabic but offer no alternative language. Could it have been one of the Indian or south-east Asian languages and the shipwreck the remains of one of the Chinese tra

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